The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
In an era where we are constantly comparing ourselves to one another, we tend to be hyper-critical of ourselves. There is great value in finding ways to be more compassionate towards ourselves and accept who we are, flaws and all. Practicing self-compassion may be something we are not used to, but we can begin to implement it in our daily lives.
Self-compassion allows us to see ourselves as we are connected to our communities and the world as a whole. Self-compassion is not to inflate our ego or self-image, but rather to allow us to show the same kindness to ourselves that we show to others. Whether we have made a mistake or embarrassed ourselves, having self-compassion allows us to acknowledge the moment and move on. Self-compassion may act to deactivate the threat system which causes feelings like insecurity and defensiveness and rather activate the self-soothing system which causes feelings of safeness and secure attachment (Gilbert, 1989). There are many ways to practice self-compassion, and below is a list of five!
- Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness has been proven to lessen self-judgment and help to reduce stress overall. My favorite short mindfulness practice to do before bed is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p_yaNFSYao You can also try a social media detox or keep a mindfulness journal.
- Gratitude: Appreciating the things that we have in our lives is a great way to switch our focuses to what we do have rather than what we don’t.
- Growth Mindset: When you have a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset, you’ll work through challenges and persevere. You can also look towards your strengths to overcome obstacles.
- Forgiveness: It has been said before that we are our harshest critics — when we practice forgiveness we can ensure that we are not minimizing our sense of self based on performance. Another aspect of forgiving is accepting past mistakes. There’s a quote by Maya Angelou that says “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” I believe that this is one of the best representations of doing the best you can, and forgiving yourself when you thought you could have done better.
- Being kind to yourself: If we focus our energy on positive emotions rather than judging or complaining, we can begin to practice self-kindness. Other ways to practice self-kindness include positive self-talk, rest days, eating food that makes you feel good, saying no to things we don’t want to do, giving hugs, and nurturing good relationships.
While self-compassion may not be the easiest thing to do sometimes, it is vital that we begin to practice it in our daily lives.